Control was one of those games in 2019 that really surprised the world, managing to not only garner Game of the Year nominations from various outlets but also become a sort of cult hit for those that adored the creepy and unsettling narrative as well as the improvisational “Jedi-like” combat.
I played the title at PAX East last year, and then at E3 2019, and was blown away by how well the game played and how it all felt in motion. I wasn’t exactly intrigued by the story or the characters themselves but I enjoyed what I played, leaving me excited for the release of the title back in August.
However, since there were so many other games to play up until around December, I never had the time to actually try the full game out for myself.
After months of playing as a Jedi in Fallen Order, hunting monsters in Iceborne, and falling on my ass in Death Stranding, I got around to finally playing and beating Control just this past weekend and boy do I have lots of feelings about it all.
Similar to how our Editor-In-Chief and Control Reviewer, Ed, felt about his time with the game, I was frustrated with a lot of things at first – things like the narrative feeling a bit muted, the checkpoint system being terrible, and the multitude of technical issues.
Whenever too many things are happening on-screen at one time, the game will almost become a slideshow, with the frame rate dropping to a crawl.
There were times when I would pause the game, causing it to freeze up for a few seconds, and opening up the map would take upwards of 10 seconds. Keep in mind that I was playing this on my base PS4, but these issues shouldn’t have been as bad as they were.
I wanted to slam my head into a wall at several points throughout the story, but were moments that came after beating a room of Hiss (the enemies in the game) when I felt like a total badass, using all of my cool moves and weapons to the best of my ability while also avoiding the rain of enemy fire.
Also, one point in particular towards the end of the game made me feel like a straight-up boss. That point was once I was able to fully enter the Ashtray Maze.
What is this Ashtray Maze, you ask? Well, it’s basically a series of rooms that are constantly changing, distorting, and transforming while you run through them, defeating enemies and progressing further and further.
The thing is, as soon as you walk in, a heavy rock song starts playing and it’s impossible to not have a smile on your face at this point.
The song is titled “Take Control” and simply sounds incredible as you’re blasting your way through enemy after enemy and flying around like some sort of superhero.
I was immediately blown away by just how cool it all was and I even didn’t mind repeating it multiple times when I would die over and over again due to my lack of finesse.
The Ashtray Maze will definitely go down as one of my favorite gaming moments from a 2019 game and I just wish I had experienced this much sooner. I’m glad I finally got the chance to power through it though.
I included a video of someone going through Control’s Ashtray Maze down below if you would like to see it for yourself but if you plan on playing Control, I highly recommend you don’t watch the video as it spoils it for you. It’s up to you at the end of the day though: